Note From the Director’s Desk

Dr. Ranjana Kumari
As I look back to the last three months and our fight for relevant and pertinent changes for women, what needs to be reiterated is that our mission to empower women connects us regionally, nationally and globally because there is not a place in the world where women have not experienced discrimination or violence, and so any action that we take with the right intentions has a positive ripple effect which will ultimately benefit all of us.

In recognition with our dedicated work in addressing the harmful practices of prenatal sex selection and female foeticide in 5 districts of Haryana, Centre for Social Research was chosen as the nodal agency by the Government of India when the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao program was first launched. From there onwards, we have organized trainings, mobilizations and government engagement to establish 4 Community Watch Groups in each district.

A natural progression from education, we’ve also extensively worked to increase girl participation in sports and promote capacity-building and personality development through it. Our sports programme in collaboration with Australian Aid was initiated to empower young girls in these 5 Gender-Critical districts of Haryana.

At CSR, we strive towards building women’s skills, economic development, equal opportunities in sports, the right to education, promote women leadership and the link between women and climate change because we see that women have the power to change the world.

This year, under our Women Skills Development initiative, we continued to promote non-traditional livelihoods for women with Security Guards and Office Assistants Program. Our Office Assistants Program was launched in July in collaboration with German Embassy and after the conclusion of the program, I was very happy to see the successful placements of our trainees for both the programs. A special case was Effat, who found out about this program through our Crisis Intervention Centre and eagerly joined our training program right after school because she wanted to achieve economic independence just like the men in her family.

This quarter, we also witnessed the Global Climate Strike where people, especially the youth of our world, across 4,500 different locations and 150 countries took to the streets to demand global action for their future. The need of the hour today is to prevent climate change and the global impact of the depletion of our water resources. We’ve identified the close relationship that women have with water, considering they are made responsible for water chores and how climate change affects them more drastically compared to men.

Keeping this in mind, our Gender, Water and Climate Change project to enhance women’s leadership capacity in water conservation and to find women-inclusive solutions for the climate crisis, has led to an expansion from Elected Women Representative’s to Self-Help Groups, Government officials and other community members as well. Considering water scarcity has become glaringly obvious and 21 cities in India are projected to run out of water by 2020, I want to urge everyone to think about the climate change crisis and understand that there is no Planet B.

This year, even though our dedication towards women’s rights and political participation achieved the highest number of women MP’s, we continued our advocacy in Chennai, Calcutta and Mumbai and continue to garner more support through our signature campaign for the Women’s Reservation Bill. In our last consultation, we completed 50,000 signatures and continue to receive more every day.

In the last few years, what has become evident is that digital media and taking our activism online is critical. Personally, and with our social media for social change, we want more conscientious and responsible users to come online and use this democratic space to express themselves fearlessly. I am happy to share that CSR was selected to be a part of The Due Diligence Project, in collaboration with UN Women, in undertaking a research study on the online violence against women.

As we approach the end of another year, it is inevitable that we become a part of this fight and understand that all societies are made of all genders and every single gender has a right to live their life with respect, rights and dignity. We have to create a global network and carry forward our agenda collectively, with men and women standing together to support gender equality and empowerment.

International Visitors Hosted By CSR This Quarter

German Delegation

A German Delegation from the German Parliament visited Centre for Social Research on 19th September, 2019. The Delegation initiated a discussion on women’s rights and human rights and led an open discussion with our training program students and other local NGO members who were invited to attend the delegation. Three of our excellent trainees from the Office Assistant Program gave a presentation to elaborate on the work we have been doing in Skills Training for women empowerment.

The US Embassy

CSR and the US Embassy hosted a roundtable discussion on best practices on gender in the workplace and addressing sexual harassment. Merri Hanson, Director of Peninsula Mediation & ADR was invited to talk on “Creating Respectful Workplaces for Women”. While Ms. Hanson elaborated on the root causes of sexual harassment and gender inequity in the Workplace, the team at CSR prepared a presentation on our participation in ICC committees and the legal rights of the harassed. The discussion was a great opportunity to exchange knowledge about the West and our Indian Context.

The Chinese Delegation

Centre for Social Research hosted the Chinese Ambassador’s Wife, Dr. Bao on 27th September, 2019. Dr. Bao was familiar with our work and reached out to us for contributing towards women’s empowerment and establishing a gender-just society. Team members from various programs gave small presentations and had an enriching discussion at the end about gender issues and strengthening the relationship between India and China.

Social Media for Social Change

In the last few years with the advancement of technology, CSR has also taken its activism online. With our regular posts – texts, images, videos, we intend to create maximum awareness amongst our followers on our feminist causes.

The virtual world is a powerful platform where people who want to raise social issues can make their voices heard. Social Meida has successfully enabled unprecedented collaboration and information-sharing in real time.

Centre for Social Research along with, social media platforms like – Twitter & Facebook has collaborated to create #TweeSurfing and #SocialSurfing, so as to create awareness on –
Online Safety
Counterspeech
Working Against Cyber Bullying etc.

#TweeSurfing: 

We strive to ensure that the projects that we design and implement have a high social impact. We are currently working in conjunction with Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (HSS) on an evaluation  of our “water conservation and climate change” project (2012-2018).

During the five-year course of this project we worked with 300 Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and to-be EWRs  in Jaipur and in Abu Road. Training them to be leaders invested in enhancing water conservation measures and projects in their districts. We developed a training program that would increase their knowledge of the connections between water issues and gender inequality; increase their knowledge on water related schemes and activities; and increase their capacities to lead water conservation initiatives at the village level.

#SocialSurfing  

This program hass successfully worked to initiate dialogue on how users can have positive online experience by safely maximizing the use of social media platforms. To create a positive gender sensitive online environment, the use of counter speech is promoted through sensitive campaigns. Engaging with a wide range of audiences, #SocialSurfing engaged with thousands of college students through workshops on online safety to build their capacities and as a result bring forth gender sensitive online experiences. Currently, the program is striving to cater to even younger audience, as an educational program.

Gender, Water & Climate Changes

Climate change represents the most complex challenge of our time. We acknowledge the important role that women have to play as key decision makers and stakeholders in the context of climate change. Climate change manifests itself most severely through changes in water (floods and droughts, for example), and women are disproportionately affected by these changes. To this end CSR aims to create sustainable and long-lasting solutions to climate change, that place women at their core.
The various projects implemented by GWCC include Water Conservation and Climate Change Training Program in Jaipur & Abu Road, Rajasthan (2013-2018); Trans-Boundary Disaster Management Training in Bihar & Nepal (2017- 2018); SHGs for Sustainable Water Resource management and Restoration of Water Resources in Alwar, Rajasthan (2018-2019); and the most recent project Water Conservation and Women’s Leadership: Building the capacity of Self Help Group (SHG) members in Sanganer, Rajasthan, (2019 – ongoing).

Site Inauguration at Kali-Khol, Alwar: 
Our collaborative project with Honda2wheelers India: “SHG’s for Sustainable Water Resource Management and Restoration of Water Resources” concluded in July. A launch event comprising a hand-holding and site inaugurate event was conducted on the 30th & 31st of July in Alwar, with all the SHG women trained under the program, Honda and CSR Representatives, and our local and technical experts in attendance.
The project was designed towards building women’s leadership capacities in water conservation. During the course of the project, 40 women members from existing Self Help Groups (SHGs) were trained in water conservation strategies, and the role of women in climate action. By working with a grassroots coalition of women skilled in advanced water management, it is expected that these women will then go on to effectively facilitate community-based natural resource development.
The two day concluding event was conducted with the aim of providing final session on the maintenance of the new water structures, and hosting an inaugural program to officially launch the sites. The first day of the event focused on a recap of the basic and technical sessions that had previously been conducted, and further lessons for maintenance and upkeep of the newly constructed medhbandhs (check-dams). On the second day the women sang a folk song about their experience with the project – one that encapsulated their learnings, challenges, and personal growth. Rajasthani folk music is a captivating oral tradition, passed down through generations, where Rajasthani people (mostly women) weave captivating stories about emotions, stories, and daily life. It was a beautiful moment, and a wonderful way for the project to be explained by the women’s own voices.
We also visited three of the five medhbandh sites – where our local partners and technical experts provided further maintenance lessons to our participants. It was a successful event, where we were able to gauge into the journey of personal growth that the women had set on after being recognized as leaders of change in the community.

Project Commencement at Sanganer: 

In collaboration with RITES Foundation, We launched a project working with SHG women in Sanganer, Jaipur. The CSR team conducted a three day visit to the target villages to conduct focused group discussions, and assess the specific needs and requirements of the area. It was a fruitful visit, and we are now moving forward and working on designing our project around our findings, and through further house-hold surveys conducted by our local partners.
The project aims to work with Self Help Group women, training them in climate action and water conservation strategies, and preparing them to become water leaders in their villages and districts.

Evaluation in Jaipur and Abu Road: 

We strive to ensure that the projects that we design and implement have a high social impact. We are currently working in conjunction with Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (HSS) on an evaluation  of our “water conservation and climate change” project (2012-2018).
During the five-year course of this project we worked with 300 Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and to-be EWRs  in Jaipur and in Abu Road. Training them to be leaders invested in enhancing water conservation measures and projects in their districts. We developed a training program that would increase their knowledge of the connections between water issues and gender inequality; increase their knowledge on water related schemes and activities; and increase their capacities to lead water conservation initiatives at the village level.

Sexual Harassment & Gender Sensitization Training

NIDEM – 27th August & 16th September
Centre for Social Research conducted one day training for Gender Equality & Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace, along with Dr. Manasi Mishra, Ms. Priyanka Londhe, Ms. Poushali Kundu & Ms. Niharika Singh who represented CSR, at the National Institute of Defence Estate Management (NIDEM).

The training dealt with the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act (2013) and the participants involved were Chief Executive Officers of Cantonment Boards and Defence Estate Officers from New Delhi, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Jabalpur, Bengaluru, Pathankot, Ahmednagar, Khirkee, Mumbai, Bhatinda & MHOW.

There was new found awareness, especially amongst men regarding the overlapping use of the term sex and gender. The open forum discussion on gender equality sought to be productive in creating awareness of the law, and the sessions further left an immediate impact.

Pre-Training Session responses of the Participants
The most discussed topics were –

  • Identifying genuine case of sexual harassment and administering their appropriate punishment
  • Formation of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in an organizational setup where women employees are few and not in the position to be a part of the ICC.
  • The participants took cognizance of the task that lay ahead of them regarding creation of gender equal workforce, prevention of sexual harassment and discouraging misuse of the law at workplace.

RBI-Reserve Bank Of India

‘A fascinating idea was to put a Suggestion Box in the washroom because that where breaking of the ice usually takes place.’

“Gender & Workplace” was a Gender Sensitization & Sexual Harassment at Workplace Training Session organized by CSR along with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).The program catered specifically to women, and what Sexual Harassment at workplace means and looks like through the help of audio-visuals and PPTs. The training was carried out by Dr. Manasi Mishra and Ms. Priyanka Londhe.

The Gender Training Institute of CSR has been contributing to long term training programs parallel to stand-alone capacity building training, awareness generation programs, and continuous development of new training materials. One of the most fascinating.

A Leader in Gender Sensitization Trainings since 1997

We have been actively working in this field since 1997 through our Gender Training Institute, in order to make our communities gender sensitive & gender inclusive. Law enforcement agencies, academic institutions, corporate organizations and government departments  have utilized us to raise awareness and understanding of Gender Sensitization and Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act through a range of workshops and interventions.

In the last two years alone, we have worked with SEBI, Haryana Police, Crime against Women Cell, Delhi , Ministry of Women and Child Development,  Chattisgarh Our initiatives have proliferated into several states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Delhi.

Training Curriculum
Our training curriculum has evolved with changing times. We bring our workshops  to life through discussion, case studies and by giving participants specific implementation points. The workshop participants are often seen raising questions like what constitutes sexual harassment at workplace and what are the best strategies to remove stigma that’s often gets attached to the victim.

The Police Manual that the team had brought out earlier received very positive feedback from various quarters.


The more I read this manual, the more I am convinced that it is beyond a Manual. It is a roadmap with very clear laid down milestones with the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of driving (read policing and crime prevention)… I am so happy to see this product for the police trainers.”
Dr. Kiran Bedi

GTI has been active in making organizations & community gender sensitive & gender inclusive. In an effort to mainstream gender in all aspects of development GTI conducts-

  • Long term training programs in parallel with stand-alone capacity building training.
  • Awareness programs.
  • Continuous development of new training materials.
  • GTI has been having sustained dialogue with many of its long-term stakeholders regarding gender equality & women empowerment.

If you would like to book a session with us or at this stage want to know more about these workshops , please contact us.

Political Empowerment – Women’s Reservation Bill

The WRB campaigns strive to achieve 33% reservation and increase female representation in political spaces. We recently held state level consultations in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.

These state-level meetings welcomed all participants to discuss the necessity and impact of the Women’s Reservation Bill. The main objective was to highlight that the right to vote does not equate with equal representation and though India has allowed women the right to vote since independence, but, even today the percentage of women representatives is still extremely low.

The Chennai Consultation – was held on 20th July, 2019 at Loyola College organized and facilitated by Global Concerns India, Shakti-Political Power to Women and Centre for Social Research. This consultation did not just invite speakers but also had a unique public opinion forum where everyone could share their views about the Women’s Reservation Bill and the need to pass it. Dr. Ranjana Kumari, who has been spearheading the cause of women in politics for decades, opined “The Women’s Reservation Bill has a long and sordid history. When we say a bill is tabled. There is usually no physical document that is presented- however, in this case, there was a document, and it was torn multiple times by the very parties that claim to stand for social justice.”

The Maharasthra Consultation – was held on 27th August, 2019 at SNDT Arts College, Churchgate with association with Centre for Social Research, Women Power Connect and Mahila Rajsatta Andolam (MRA). The conference was a major effort to facilitate women’s participation as well as representation in the political arena in line with the Reservation Bill.

The Kolkata consultation – was held on 27th September, 2019 in collaboration with Jabala Action Research Organization and National Alliance of Women. There were 52 participants who elaborated on how this is the longest pending Bill in the history of India and it is not a demand but the constitutional right of women which has been blocked by the patriarchal mindset of our society.

All these consultations ended with gathering huge support for this Bill. We have also been collecting signatures for the campaign as part of WRB. The number has gone up to 50,000 signatures and we continue to receive more every day.

Women’s Skill Development. Office Assistant Training

“I was born in UP and was brought up in Delhi. I did my schooling in Delhi and whenever I would see big offices in Delhi, I wanted to work in these offices as well.

As soon as I finished my schooling, I found out that Centre for Social Research is conducting Office Assistant Training, I spoke to my father and I was successfully enrolled in the program.

I learnt how to operate the computer, filing documents, communication skills, interpersonal skills etc. CSR also taught me how to prepare for an interview, how to sit for an interview and thankfully, I secured my job. My father is also grateful for this training because he can see the way I have developed and changed. He’s also proud of the fact that I can now be independent and stand on my own feet.” – Effat Khanam (Office Assistant Trainee)

The First Batch Of Office Assistant Training Program

The first batch of Office Assistant Training started on 1st August and had 32 students, with intensive 45 days training; we successfully completed our first on 15th of September 2019.

Trainees came from diverse backgrounds and with varying educational qualification. This brought certain dynamism to the training sessions, as they all were able to bring in a perspective that was unique and valuable in equal measures. The first batches of trainees were felicitated with the MEPSC govt. certificates in a certification ceremony.

Placement

Several on-campus drives were also conducted for the placement of our trainees upon the completion of the raining program. Our team reached out to several companies and agencies (Policy bazaar, Whirlpool, OYO, Oberoi hotel, Clinton hotel) for the job opportunities of the trainees. Currently 3 of our students have been placed.
EFFAT- POLICY BAZAR
MANISHA- OBEROI HOTEL
ANJALI- CLINTON HOTEL

Enrollment and commencement of Batch 2 Classes

We are currently moving forward with our second batch and we wish to place more students in the workforce and are working in this regard.

Sports teaches you about life, we use sports to empower our girls!

It is believed, Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life. And this is why our Sports programme in partnership with Australian Aid is a land-mark initiative in empowering our girls in the 5 Gender-Critical Districts of Haryana’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme.

In our first phase of the programme, 2017-2018,  we had touched over 500 girls through a variety of sports like Volleyball in Gugaon and Hockey in Jhajjar.

Minakshi Saini , our volleyball coach from Gurugram added,“The poor girls who study in government schools can’t reach the stadium,  so I go to them and give them training. It’s important for girls to come into sports so that they are not dependent on anyone. I have around 125 girls taking training with me”

The WRB campaigns strive to achieve 33% reservation and increase female representation in political spaces. We recently held state level consultations in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.

These state-level meetings welcomed all participants to discuss the necessity and impact of the Women’s Reservation Bill. The main objective was to highlight that the right to vote does not equate with equal representation and though India has allowed women the right to vote since independence, but, even today the percentage of women representatives is still extremely low.

The Chennai Consultation – was held on 20th July, 2019 at Loyola College organized and facilitated by Global Concerns India, Shakti-Political Power to Women and Centre for Social Research. This consultation did not just invite speakers but also had a unique public opinion forum where everyone could share their views about the Women’s Reservation Bill and the need to pass it. Dr. Ranjana Kumari, who has been spearheading the cause of women in politics for decades, opined “The Women’s Reservation Bill has a long and sordid history. When we say a bill is tabled. There is usually no physical document that is presented- however, in this case, there was a document, and it was torn multiple times by the very parties that claim to stand for social justice.”
The Maharasthra Consultation – was held on 27th August, 2019 at SNDT Arts College, Churchgate with association with Centre for Social Research, Women Power Connect and Mahila Rajsatta Andolam (MRA). The conference was a major effort to facilitate women’s participation as well as representation in the political arena in line with the Reservation Bill.

The Kolkata consultation – was held on 27th September, 2019 in collaboration with Jabala Action Research Organization and National Alliance of Women. There were 52 participants who elaborated on how this is the longest pending Bill in the history of India and it is not a demand but the constitutional right of women which has been blocked by the patriarchal mindset of our society.

All these consultations ended with gathering huge support for this Bill. We have also been collecting signatures for the campaign as part of WRB. The number has gone up to 50,000 signatures and we continue to receive more every day.

Priya, a volleyball player from Gurugram  emphatically shared, “People should give equal rights and respect to girls, the way they do for boys. Our country’s girls are already ahead in education and now they have proven themselves in sports as well. Players like Geeta Phogat, Sakshi Malik, P.V.Sindhu are medalists at the international level. “

We are also making efforts to build greater advocacy with district level authorities. The CSR team also reached out to the District Sports and Youth Officers (DS&YO), coaches, physical education instructors and school principals in Kurukshetra, Ambala, Gurugram and Jhajjar.

Activities in pipeline:

  1. An enrollment drive at Jhajjar
  2. District level Volleyball match in the districts of Dighal and Mahendragarh
  3. Zonal competition between three of our districts.


Our plan for the future is to be able to provide nutrition, sports kits and shoes for 400 girls for our #SportsForGirls initiative in 5 districts of Haryana.

Making a difference with Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Initiatives

In recognition of our dedicated work with the communities since 2007 for not only empowering girls but also improving sex ratio through our “Meri Shakti Meri Beti programme,  we were chosen as the nodal agency by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India, when the programme was launched nationally in January 2015.

As the nodal agency for the BetiBachaoBetiPadhao, Centre for Social Research (CSR) is working with 5 districts of Haryana in addressing the harmful practices of prenatal sex selection and abortion of female foetuses.

Our efforts have yielded results as noted down by the data provided by District Head Quarters, Department of Women & Child Health, is evidenced in the latest report-glimpse below.

But we are not resting on our laurels! We continue to work relentlessly with communities and in Q3 2019, we have organized a Pachayati Raj Institution(PRI) Training for Sarpanches and panch members from 22 Lowest Sex Ratio Villages at Panchayat Bhawan, Ambala. This training was held on 21st August, 2019.At the eventMr. Rajvir Singh, District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO), Mrs. Baljeet Kaur District Program Officer(DPO), Ms. Mamta; District Child Protection Officer, Dr. Pawan; from the PC/PNDT team,Ms. Divya Joshi and Ms. Veena Dhal,members of local NGOs also joined us to grace the occasion and address the village representatives about the importance of grass root level maintenance of birth records through Guddi-Gudda Boards at village Chaupals and engaging men in the discussion.

Our Approach
We have followed a multi-pronged approach in building capacities of various stakeholders to address the practice of sex-selection at the local level by focusing on

  • Building community awareness and engagement for behavioral change related to gender issues,
  • Engaging local government and strengthening its response on the issue,
  • Mobilising institutional response among educational institutions, civil societies, and other local organisations.

Our Achievements

  • Establishment Community Watch Groups (CWG): 4 Community Watch Groups have been formed in each district with the lowest sex ratio so far.
  • Expert Group Meetings: After the initial rapport building exercise and collection of sex ratio data from these 5 districts, Expert Group Meetings were conducted in Kurukshetra with CMO, PC/PNDT nodal Officer and other 40 medical fraternity representatives.
  • NGO Networking: CSR also collaborated with 17 local NGO partners in all the 5 districts.
  • Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) Training: Successfully, concluded three PRI Training programmes for Gurugram, Ambala, Kurukshetra and Mahendragarh. We targeted the low sex ratio villages identified by the District Appropriate Authorities (DAA).
  • Youth Mobilisation: We have mobilized Youth by partnering with Educational Institutions in Mahendragarh and Gurugram. Our cultural activities and mobilization events have received widespread media coverage.